There’s life beyond “Shout at the Devil.”
More than 1,500 fans attended Sixx:A.M.’s concert at the Midland theater on Tuesday, a fraction of the capacity crowd that witnessed Mötley Crüe’s farewell appearance at the Sprint Center last August.
Tuesday’s reduced turnout was nonetheless a respectable showing for the project that’s expected to eventually become the primary focus of Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx.
As a member of the notoriously depraved and enormously successful hair-metal band responsible for raucous hits including “Shout at the Devil,” Sixx was one of the most prominent rock stars of the 1980s. Mötley Crüe’s final tour resumes next month.
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Initially formed to create a musical companion piece to Sixx’s 2007 autobiography, “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star,” Sixx:A.M. specializes in uplifting songs about topics including sobriety and perseverance.
Motley Crue’s music is cartoonish and colorful; Sixx:A.M.’s recordings tend to be bland and beige.
That discrepancy was rectified on Tuesday. Sixx:A.M. was refreshingly lean and hungry during its 80-minute outing. The band sounded robust and looked entirely vital.
DJ Ashba, a guitarist who moonlights in Guns N’ Roses, and vocalist James Michael are Sixx’s band mates in Sixx:A.M. The core trio was supplemented by a drummer and two background singers.
Straightforward rock songs like “Let’s Go” were balanced by the theatrical flair of “Dead Man’s Ballet” and “Miracle,” a dance track during which Sixx:A.M. resembled a muscle-bound version of the pop band Maroon 5.
Michael delivered lines like “we all fall off the wagon sometimes” on the ballad “Accidents Can Happen” with knowing compassion. “Skin,” a song of encouragement that references scripture, was even lovelier.
Even so, the evening’s most beautiful moments belonged to Apocalyptica. The best kind of novelty act -- an unusual ensemble that amuses even as it impresses -- Apocalyptica is a Finnish metal band with three cellists.
“Because we love you, we will punish you with classical music,” Eicca Toppinen said.
His band played a breakneck version of Edvard Grieg’s “Into the Hall of the Mountain King” and a gorgeous reading of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.”
Apocalyptica’s spellbinding effort was capable of outshining many headliners. Yet the night belonged to Sixx:A.M.
Sixx spoke of using Sixx:A.M. to spread “a message of hope.” His band’s positive message was delivered with unexpected grace and undeniable power at the Midland theater.
Lets Go; Give Me a Love; Relief; This Is Gonna Hurt; Pray for Me; Dead Man's Ballet; Accidents Can Happen; Miracle; Live Forever; Gotta Get It Right; Drive; Help Is On the Way; Goodbye My Friends; Lies of the Beautiful People; Stars; Skin; Life is Beautiful.